CEUs and Early Educators

Commitment to Informing Practice To support the advancement of the state’s early childhood professional development system to be inclusive of in-depth trainings that are structured to impact practice, North Carolina’s early childhood partners have worked together to lay the foundation for a professional development system inclusive of CEUs.

CEU Definition A 1.0 CEU or continuing education unit is equivalent to 10 hours of pre-planned, cohesive training guided by learning objectives and learner assessments.

CEU Supply CEUs are growing quickly in NC. Visit the CEU Events page to access options available across the state.

Use of CEUs for DCDEE Contact Hours If the adult educator providing CEUs is endorsed by the Institute, DCDEE will accept the CEUs as in-service training hours if they meet the requirements for the individual’s professional development  for facility licensure. 

  • To offer training for contact hours only, click here to access more information.
  • DCDEE requirements for in-service training requires annual training hours, which may include CEUs and college credits.
  • Trainers should contact the DCDEE In-service Training Consultant at (919) 662-4567 with questions. Trainers are encouraged to first review the content available on this weblink prior to contacting DCDEE.

Quick Tips

  • 1 CEU = 10 contact hours
  • CEUs offer more than training and less than a college course.
  • CEUs have a similar cost to workshops.
  • CEUs may be offered at one time or over several sessions, over a long period of time or at a conference as a defined track.
  • Quality may vary. Shop wisely!
  • CEUs are typically taught by instructors with a Bachelor’s degree or higher, are seasoned adult educators with experience and knowledge in the subject area.

Why CEUs Instead of Contact Hours

Research has shown that the application of what is learned in a training session is supported when participants are self-directed learners, content is grounded in their experience and sessions allow participants to learn new information, apply it, reflect on using it and then gain feedback to further inform practice.  College credits and continuing education units or CEUs are designed to address this need. As in most professions, individuals practicing in a professional field are required to advance and/or update their skills and knowledge to maintain their certification and/or license.  CEUs vary in length and may be offered as in-person training, online or a combination of both. CEUs include a cohesive set of learning objectives, assessments of learning and opportunities to practice what has been learned and reflect on the content provided. Licensed teachers, who have a four-year degree or higher, commonly take one-hour CEU sessions that are designed to build upon a college degree(s). However, because the majority of the North Carolina early childhood and school-age workforce does not yet hold a college degree, in-depth training beyond basic information typically provided in one-hour sessions are needed to support the state’s early educators in making the critical connection between what is learned and application in the early childhood and/or school-age setting.

Recognized Bodies Offering CEUs  Quality control measures and approval processes utilized by the existing systems offering CEUs to many professions will approve the CEU content. Adult educators who are interested in offering CEUs are strongly encouraged to contact the approval body you will work with to have your CEUs approved PRIOR to designing or offering your session to assure you meet their guidelines for CEU content. Recognized bodies include:




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